Report by P.A. Smith
In a pulsating match at Oxenhope, Illingworth secured the Premiership title in grand style by beating the home side by 42 runs but this belies the tenseness of the finish as the home side fought to avoid relegation to the 1st Division.
Illingworth looked well on their way to a big total at 86-0 with Calum Cook 48 and Liam Kelly 50 building a solid platform on a far from easy wicket. The Keighley side hit back as the visitors plunged to 128-6 and in the end restricted them to just two bonus batting points at 161-9 with some tight bowling and good fielding with change bowler Ben Howell picking up 3-29. Ben Robertshaw helped boost the total with an unbeaten 20 off 18 balls towards the end.
Oxenhope lost early wickets as the opening pair of Brooksby and Moorhouse took a hold of the game with the home side slumping to 55-5. Howell again proved a thorn in the visitors cause and at 111-6 looked to be in the driving seat to create a shock win especially when Moorhouse limped off with a damaged hamstring. Fortunately for the North Halifax side, it was skipper Ben Robertshaw 4-36 and Luke Brooksby 3-20 who saw the visitors home as the home side lost their last four wickets for just eight runs with Howell next to last man out with a fighting 40.
Illingworth were not to be denied their third title in successive years and the Premier Division title exactly 100 years on from their last Halifax League title win before leaving the league to join the Yorkshire Council.